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tv   Starting Point  CNN  January 23, 2012 4:00am-6:00am PST

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rep pri man speaker gingrich. >> you end up with a guy who is a very good salesman, very much wants to sell. but he has a really weak product. >> plus, joe paterno is being remembered this morning. to what degree has his legacy though been tarnished? we're going to talk to former penn state players up ahead. one texas school district lagging behind the academic standards in the state. the fix, they say, ban sports. we'll take a look at whether or not that can work. that's all ahead ads "starting point" begins right now. welcome back, everybody. our "starting point" today is for the fight for florida and not a big surprise here, turning nasty very fast. big debate in florida tonight. and then there's going to be the cnn debate on thursday. the primary is in eight days. and it's newt gingrich who has all the momentum after that big primary win in south carolina.
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he's claiming he's raised a million dollars in less than 24 hours following that south carolina win. so no big surprise that the attacks on both sides are ramping up. we've got congressman bob mcewen joining us. he's a newt deng grich surrogate. sir, welcome to you. also produce you to our pan panelist. we have bob grobrownstein. i just called you bob. i'm going to make up names. and will cain and roland martin. and also this morning, we are being joined by tom, thank you for being with us. appreciate your time. let's get right to it. sir, what's the plan for today when you look at the graphics that show us the lead that you actually had, looks like a nice solid 12-point lead for newt gingrich. give me analysis, why do you think he won? what did you write?
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>> what? am i on, soledad? >> yes rk, you are. >> last week terrific things happened. one was the united states for the first time in its peace time history has a debt greater than 100% of its gdp. the same time, nine countries in europe had their currencies downgraded as a result of their debt ratios which six of them are better than america's. the worst is greece with 120% of gdp. we will surpass that within a year. now, how do you fix it? there's only been one person able to balance the budget four consecutive years since 1928 and that was under the leadership of speaker gingrich. so when it comes to balancing the budget, getting control of the economy,gasoline prices have been doubled over the last three years. if we're going to take america back we're going to need somebody who knows how to lead and the question is not debatable, that this man knows how to bring together resources to accomplish the task. >> it sounds to me like you're
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saying it was his economic message that got out to voters in south carolina. legal me tell you what governor chris christi in nrnnew jersey say on "meet the press" over the weekend. listen. >> wrun out of speakership by hs own party. he's had a very difficult political career at times and has been embarrassment to the party. >> embarrassment, that's a tough word. what do you make of that? >> very simply. the republicans had not controlled the congress in 70 years. never had back-to-back wins. he was able to accomplish that. and so -- >> you're not answering me question. my question was, when governor chris christie said the man is an embarrassment and now the leader coming out of south carolina, what do you do about that? >> what he said was he talked about the ethics violation. because they took control for the first time in 70 years, then pelosi and the folks filed an ethics violation every week, not for 30 weeks, not for 55 weeks, not for 67 weeks, 84 different
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ethics violations back to back forever. 83 of them were investigated and thrown out. finally there was one where he said foundation rather than a pack and should have been inverted one way or the other. that was the only thing. what he said was, look, i'll bay for the cost of that investigation if we can quit this. and so he -- he paid a penalty. >> he paid a penalty, exactly. >> plenty of people who say -- so you're saying that he voluntarily decided to end -- >> voluntarily. and the republicans supported it and said, let's get this behind us and quit this nonsense. now, during that time -- i'm not an anti-romney person. but during that time, mitt romney said, i'm not a republican. he said, during reagan/bush i was an independent. and so now for these folks to come back when he was forging the coalition that made it possible for us to have victory next year, the one who built the coalition which makes speaker boehner in control now to have been under that attack for so
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long and to use that against them is really unfair. he has paid his dues in order to take the leadership to restore america back to a strong economy again and do the ethics reforms and others needed. >> let me bring in from tampa, rick tyler, senior adviser to one of newt gingrich's pacs. thank you for joining us our conversation. we have a panel was as well. >> thanks for having me. i was enjoying bob's explanation. >> didn't have you visually but glad you could hear us. sounds to me he's saying that, listen, all the ethics investigation was just a big mistake and it's all bygones to this point. to what degree does it hinge on south carolina and the leverage on that debate? >> i think it was very significant. i'm told 60% of the voters in south carolina watch the debate. on tv, that's awfully big. and he had a magnificent performance that drove top radio
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and top television in the next two days. it's very significant. >> rick, ron brownstein from the "national journal." the speaker made an argument yesterday on several of the sunday shows that essentially the republican party cannot trust mitt romney to implement a conservative agenda. do you believe that in the end, romney -- that the real romney is the one who governor of massachusetts or the real romney is the one, in fact, offering agenda amount indistinguishable on policy grounds as newt gingrich is today? >> my goodness, you would have to ask him. let romney be romney, but who would that be? all we have are people's records. ledge lative records. newt geingrich has four years o records. he created them but they were created. tax cuts, welfare reform. what we know about mitt romney is that he was a supporter of rowe v. wade, he let's judges overrule parents in terms of
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letting children get abortions by their parents. he raised taxes on business and gave us romneycare. he doesn't want you to know his record or newt's record. if i wanted a conservative, i wanted someone like a mark arube you in florida, i would pit gingrich, chris christie, i would pick romney. >> here's what newt gingrich said about super pacs. as i mentioned coming in, mr. tyler, you run the former speaker's super pacs. here's what he's saying. >> the super pacs have huge amounts of money to run and totally irresponsible, totally secret. i think it's just wrong. >> congressman -- >> i couldn't agree more. >> i couldn't agree more with that statement. i think we need to return the fund-raising ability back to the candidates and put their own names on the ads and need to end this shell game. we should let candidates collect as much money as they can,
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expect for foreign contributions. then everybody would know who who is supporting which candidate. >> rick, roland martin. if you agree with it why are you running one? and for the congressman, if gingrich's leadership is so great why did his own party throw him out of office as speaker? if they threw him out, why should the american people put him in? >> i'm not sure that they threw him out. >> actually he was thrown out. his own party tloohrew him out. >> no, he wasn't. >> he left on his own? >> he left on his own. >> gotcha. >> he never lost an election. the fact is that by taking control for that period of time, once he left, we have nerf ball lanced the budget sense and the contributions that he made were so significant that they've been ongoing. now, it's appropriate to be -- >> that's not true. >> we balanced it the next several years after he left, in '99 and 2000 as well. so that's not accurate. and also, clearly, he left one
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step ahead of being pushed when there was a backlash of house republicans when they lost seats in clinton's mid term, the first time that happened in party in power since andrew jackson's second term, six years in. clearly there was a sense among house republicans in that period of frustration. and it does raise the question -- one of the key questions. gingrich was brilliant as a guerrilla leader but running as speaker seemed to be more call lengi i challenging for him. >> what you said was completely false. four years of balanced budget. >> are you saying the it was not balanced in 1999? >> sure it was. hold on, you're asking me a question. we already had surpluses. if you have surpluses going into the budget for the year it's easy to submit a balanced budget. bill clinton never submited a balanced budget. he never submitted welfare reform. bill clinton never submitted tax
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cuts. he submitted 13 items that newt gingrich passed. don't give me that. it is newt gingrich who led that. nobody disputes that. and, look, people want to say there was chaotic leadership. bob knows. newt served people who were in line for chairmen, says you don't get this republican resolution, step aside for somebody who does. of course people got mad because they wanted -- many of them wanted to continue with earmarks and pork barrel politics the way it was and newt said no. when newt left, that's what it returned to. >> that's going to have to be our final word because we're out of time. >> thank you. >> thank you for joining us this morning. other headlines to get to. christine, good morning. >> let's start the headlines with dangerous severe weather to tell you about. reports of tornadoes and damage in several states this morning. thousands of people waking up without power this monday. the threat ranges from illinois all of the way down to alabama. meteorologist rob ars an no tracking these storms for you. good morning, rob.
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>> good morning, christine. wide spread damage, especially around the birmingham, alabama, area. and a cell south of birmingham doing some damage and that cell is alive and well. unfortunately heading towards alexandria city, along i-65. reports of damage just west of there with potentially people trapped in their homes and some of our affiliates are reporting fatalities. we haven't confirmed that yet but this is an ugly situation. danger is over for birmingham and tuscaloosa. heading towards aniston and talladega. this will be heading into an environment at least in georgia that is a little bit more stable. so tornado watch out for alabama, but you notice kind of expires. you head into georgia. much cooler air in here. up to the north, severe weather as well. rolling across the tennessee and ohio river valleys. those storms are being allowed to weaken as well. the other point of weather that is of concerned is across the north east, christine, cold pocket of air north of new york city and north and east towards
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i-95 through connecticut, pockets of freezing rain this morning. that certainly is making it slick. another potent storm heading into the west coast. we'll be keeping an eye on this particular cell, especially in clay, and east central alabama where the storm has a history of doing some damage. christine? >> thanks, rob. we'll keep up to date with you on that as it develops. in italy, officials hope to determine if they can begin pumping out half a million gallons of fuel from that capsized cruise ship. the mayor of the island where the ship ran aground says the situation is now an ecological time bomb because they fear that ship could slip into deeper waters. rescue crews have recovered another body leaving 19 people unaccounted for. a mississippi judge could decide if nearly 200 pardons issued by out going mississippi governor haley barbour if they are valid. the state attorney general requested today's hearing because he said it appeared some of the pardons violated the state constitution. under mississippi law, a public
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notice must run in the newspaper 30 days prior to a pardon. egypt's parliament meeting today for the first time since the down fall of former president hosni mubarak last year. lawmakers are expected to vote on a new speaker of the house and two deputies. mitt romney plans to release his 2010 tax returns tomorrow. the republican presidential candidate says not releasing them has become a distraction. today congresswoman gabrielle giffords plans to finish the congress on your corner event that jared lee loughner enter rutted last year. she's going to hold a private gathering with some of the people who were there. she announced yesterday in a youtube video that she will resign. >> i have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for arizona, i will step down this week. and the new york giants and new england patriots are super
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bowl bound. they defeated them 20-17 on a field goal. the patriots beat the baltimore ravens 23-20 in the afc championship game. minding your business this morning, investors bracing for what could be a choppy week. corporate earnings, iran oil talks, right now u.s. stock futures are trading higher ahead of the opening bell. markets gained about 2% last week. also watching blackberry maker research in motion. it has new ceo, thornston heinz. as the company struggles to overhaul the pags with apple and google. soledad, research in motion shares are up 3% but they're down 72% over the past year. >> they've had some big hits over the last literally, over the last year. thank you for that update. i guess in the last block we really understood what the strategy will be for the former speaker of newt gingrich. >> spin, spin, spin.
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>> i was stunned. that's not even spinning. that is a rewriting of history. i want to play first a little bit of what mitt romney said talking about his competitor newt gingrich. listen. >> he was a film leader and he had to resign in disgrace. i don't know whether you knew that. he actually resigned after four years in disgrace. investigated under an ethics panel and had to make a payment associated with that. and then his fellow republicans, 88% of his republicans voted to reprimand speaker gingrich. he has not had a record of successful leadership. >> okay. whack with our panel. tom is a former democratic congressman, ceo of the center for american progress action fund. it's nice to have you joining our panel. ron brownstein, i mangled your name. will cain is back, roland martin is back. wow. so? >> so i would say, two points. clarify, this criticism is coming from the conservative side of the spectrum. former congressman, roland and
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ron, had a debate about whether or not newt gingrich was forced out or left on his own, beside the point. i would line up many republicans, they line up out this door to say that newt gingrich is not fit for leadership. i would say explain that to me, why do you have such a different opinion. the second is this, the conversation about the '90s i'm not convinced that's a good idea for newt gingrich. he won south carolina based on no substance, no platform. he won that based on his personality. i don't think he wants to be litigating the '90 tz next couple of weeks. >> we have david fromme joining us. i know you've win a piece for which talks about newt gingrich and you use the word panic when you talk about senior republican leadership. what's the panic over? >> just what everyone who worked with him who is a contemporary in congress then as will just said, has serious cess rer investigations about his leadership. i have a joke if you were to do an election between newt gingrich and barack obama and can find the franchise to republicans who serve in the house of representatives in the 1990s it would be a very, very
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close call. if you were to make people who served in past republican cabinets i don't think newt gingrich would win. will made another very important point whp when you're talking about gingrich you're inevitably talking at the past, personal past, financial past, that was a big part of what that ethics report was about. >> didn't seem to matter south caroli carolina. >> didn't seem to matter in south carolina. lucky him. will that continue to be true? one of the most popular figures in the country right now is bill clinton. if you put newt gingrich back on the platform, you invite a relitigation of the impeachment, of the elections of the 1990s. suddenly the question is bill clinton will have an opinion of who gets the credit of balanced budget of the 1990s and he will be all over tv. every time gingrich faced against clinton he lost. better to run against obama. >> only look backwards or look forward to -- >> no. >> you think backwards? >> no, forward. there are two distinct phases to newt gingrich's career in
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congress. as a gorilla leader from 1978 to 1994, leading the republicans back to the majority for the first time in 40 -- not 70 years, just another point of fact -- he was undenyably brilliant. led republicans. architect of their recovery. now is the great helmsman, in charge, much more difficult for them. much more chaotic. what worked in south carolina was channeling back that newt of the 1980s who gave voice to the conservatives about democrats. it was the language. it was him channeling the emotion that romney didn't to a greater degree that anybody has. >> roland martin has got to go get on the tom joyner morning show. i say hey as you run out. we look toward florida. >> right. i think what you saw in south carolina as well is a concern for republicans beyond the fact that they're beating each other up and gingrich is getting attacked by ethics. that's never a good news cycle. but what you saw was a real
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anger driving that. something that i saw in parts of virginia when i was in congress. and i think the concern here, if i were a republican, would be the president is about to give a state of the union address with a positive message about rebuilding our manufacturing base, positive numbers on manufacturing, about the ability to build and grow things here in america again. and you have conservatives fighting each other on nasty political grounds. you see a conservative base that remains extremely upset. you see independents out there who want to see solutions, who want to see a focus on how do we actually create jobs and continue to move out of this recession. and so i think you see the president continuing to build that track record, focused on jobs and payroll tax that hits the middle class. meanwhile you have conservatives fighting each other for who has done more damage for the country. romney's vulture capitalism or mr. gingrich's ethics violation. >> maybe the president can tip toe through and skip the infighting. we're going to take a short break. remembering joe paterno, we'll talk about his legacy and the
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degree to which it is tarnished by the jerry sandusky scandal. the owners of the costa concordia are making the survivors of the disaster an offer they're hoping they can't refuns refuse.
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life with crohn's disease is a daily game of "what ifs." what if my stomach pain and cramps end our night before it even starts? what if i eat the wrong thing? what if... what if i can't make it through dinner and a movie? what if i suddenly have to go? what if... but what if the most important question is the one you're not asking? what if the underlying cause of your crohn's symptoms is damaging inflammation? for help getting the answers you need visit and use the interactive discussion guide to speak with your gastroenterologist. in state college pennsylvania, they are mourning the loss of a legend.
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joe a noern died of lung cancer, 85 years old. there's bitterness over paterno's firing and it still runs high in penn state. to what degree will it tarnish his bryan scott is with the pubuffa bills. we all knew that joe paterno was very sick. still, i think his death came as a big surprise. what was your reaction when you heard that, in fact, he had died? >> you know, i have to be completely honest with you. coach paterno always used to talk about bear bryant and when he got finished coaching a few months later he passed away and coach paterno would share this story that he didn't like to golf on saturdays, he didn't like to mow his lawn, he said, to be honest, i don't even know where the foreclosures and knives go in my own kitchen. football was his life. i just had a feeling that once everything transpired and he moved away from football, i kind of figured this was going to
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happen. >> there was an interview in the "washington post" on january 14th. he said this. i miss the last three days of spring practice and i was disappointed i couldn't be with the did the last three games. yeah, i miss it. right now i try to figure out what i'm going to do because i don't want to sit around on my backside all day. you think that the end was very near once he stopped actually coaching? >> i believe so, sad to say. but, you know, his time there at penn tastate, he just gave so mh to it. football was really his life. the student athletes, the university, he poured his all into it. >> "the washington post" and the interview that i know you read, sally jenkins wrote the article, sort of portrayed a man who was elderly and befuddled and talked about it didn't occur to him to do more when he heard a report about what jerry sandusky was up to. to what degree do you think that, that interviews and his inaction has tarnished that tremendous legacy that before the jerry sandusky scandal was
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mammothed, outsizes? >> you know, soledad, everyone is going to have their different views and opinions, which is fine. i can't sit here and convince people how great a man joe paterno was. i can just say what a legacy he left to me. a lot of his morals, values, fundamentals he coached and teechd, i'll carry on throughout the rest of my life. >> what did he mean to you? what did he tell you as you were being recruited in 1999, what made you say, yeah, penn state is where i want to go? >> coach paterno came in and sat down with me, recruiting process goes on a lot of coaches come at you from different angles and say i want you to come to this university, i want you to start with this your freshman year, this and that. he came at me more like a grandfather. bryan, i don't want you to come to penn state because your friends or teachers want you to come here. i don't want you to come to penn state because we have a pretty good football program. he said i want you to be on this
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campus forirst and foremost to know what you will get a great education and i'm going to push you to get your degree. and that really just meant a lot to me. he said, if football doesn't work out, than i can't guarantee you that it will, i want you to be happy here on campus. >> bryan scott for us this morning. nice to talk to you again. >> thank you. still ahead this morning, "get real", the obserwner of th capsized cruise ship is making what some think is an insulting offer. ♪
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time to get real this morning. today we're taking a look at a sales pitch. that has many people saying no thank you. after amp accident or a mishap, companies will try to save face by offering the effected customer a discount, free flight, future purchase descount. now a 30% discontinue on a future cruise. that is reportedly what the survivors of the costa concordia wreck are offered. a spokesman for the costa cruises says this. the company is not only going to refund everybody but they'll offer a 30% discount oh we not even 50% -- 30% discount on future cruise if they want to stay loyal to the company. passengers, as you can imagine, are outraged. one survivor tells the paper it is ridiculous. it's insulting. so far cnn has not been able to independently confirm that 30%
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number. but as you can expect, passengers want more than 30%. they want more than 50%. they're going to find lawyers and sue. many of them are going to file a class action lawsuit. to this attempted good will gesture, might want to get real. still ahead, lots to talk about. obama's critics in a "newsweek" article. they're dumb? david frum is disagreeing with that. plus, a failing school district in texas has a radical solution, get rid of sports. plus, steven tyler's "national anthem." >> we heard it. we saw it, too. >> listen, folks. ♪ o say, can you see by the dawn's early light ♪ ♪ what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? ♪ >> some people loved it. >> who loved it? supported nearly 3 million steady jobs across our country... ... scientists, technicians, engineers, machinists...
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welcome back to "starting point," everybody. first off, what are you laughing about? i'm trying to get to the headlines. christine romans. >> not enough space for the two of them on this side of the table, that, we know. headlines, first. christine, good morning. >> good morning, soledad. dangerous weather this morning. up through the ohio valley and the south. several reports of possible tornadoes and wide spread damage. this could be just the beginning. we're going to get a check of the weather from meteorologist rob marciano. >> damage across parts of the alabama including tuscaloosa and just north of birmingham. search and rescue crews out to help people there. dangerous situation that is moving off to the east. here it is on the radar scope. tornado watch is still in effect for parts of alabama for the next few hours. georgia, some more stable air here. once the storms get into georgia, beginning to fall
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apart. still a strong storm that has a history of doing significant damage that has crossed i-65 heading just north of alexandra city. that's the pot right now we're watching closely. once that cell diminishes, i think we will be able to relax. storms are weakening up towards the north. this thing is strong. wraps around to some snow on the back side. for the most part it's a warm system. that warm air is getting into pockets of cool air and up to the north, christine, just north of new york city, just north and west of boston we do have reports of some light freezing rain this morning. temperatures will be on the rebound as we go throughout the day today. so just next couple of hours will be a slick go if you're heading out the door across the northeast. christine? >> thank you, rob. all right. syria is rejecting an arab league proposal to end the ten-month ten-month-old uprising. the plan calls president bashar al-assad to turn over to vice president and establish a new unity in two months. they say they consider it a violation of sovereignty and
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flagrant interference in the internal affairs. smooth sailing so far for the quut uss abr zrks zrkss abrn the persian gulf. the u.s. navy says the carrier completed a regular and routine passage through the strait of hormuz. presidential candidate, republican presidential candidate rick santorum stressing his opposition to roev. wade today legalizing abortions. santorum wrote, my opponents whisper they are pro-life but i fight the battle in the trenches and will continue to do so until every innocent human life in this country is protected. rick santorum wrote stressing his position protecting life. reports say "30 rock" star tracy morgan was rushed to the hospital after collapsing at a charity event at the sundance festival in park city, utah.
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spoke man said he is speaking medical attention from a combination of exhaustion and altitude. and another storybook celebrity marriage bites the dust. supermodel heidi klum and singer seal confirming the rumors they are separating. they have been married seven years. their four kids. they issued a joint statement to "people" magazine saying, quote, while we have enjoyed seven very loving, loyal, and happy years of marriage, after much soul-searching we decided to separate. we continue to love each other very much though we have grown apart. "american idol" judge steven tyler criticized this morning. you know, he sang the "national anth anthem" last night. folks say -- well, you be the judge. ♪ and the rockets' red glare the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ gave proof through the night
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that our flag was still there ♪ >> so, soledad, i don't know. he's an rock 'n roller, not an opera singer. he doesn't do musical theater. >> it's the "star-spangled banner." >> rock 'n roll is still supposed to be in key. >> thank you. >> he's not going to hollywood. on that show, he would not be going to hollywood. >> that's right. >> yeah. what do they say on "american idol," that's it, we vote him off the island. >> dawg, that ain't it. >> i would like to challenge you. >> i actually could do it. maybe i'll do it for you one day. maybe one day. >> that's a "starting point" smack. >> it could be worse. >> kind of is. thank you for the support. he says it's not going to be worse, that's support. are president obama's critics dumb? that was the headline the other day. david frum is going to join us and he says he disagrees.
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welcome back, everybody. are president obama's critics
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dumb? "newsweek" kcover story made tht case but david frum disagrees. we're back with our panelists as well. the article that you wrote is an antidote to andrew sullivan's article wrote in news week who basically said, listen, president obama has done a bunch of good things. bailouts worked, obama care is moderate, congress is polarized, basically the president just kept his promises. what didn't you like about that article? >> as you say, andrew sullivan wrote that last week and this week i'm a "newsweek" contributor and they gave me space to write the rebuttal to andrew. and i think what andrew was doing there was shooting fish in a barrel, he was taking the most extreme and most criticisms of the president and they're having lots of those. and replied to those. meanwhile, serious case about that is the issue in this about the direction the country is goi going. the key act about this president is that he is taking on a country toward a path on a much
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bigger government on a permanent, not emergency busy. i give lots of facts and figures in my article on those trends. >> let me interrupt you for a second to read you a little bit from your own kcolumn. hiring is up across the federal government 15% since 2007. why did you mention 2007 sint president obama didn't come in until 2009? ? >> i want to make sure that what we're doing here is not just talking about the emergency m measures put in place in 2008 and 2009. obviously during an emergency government is going to grow. we have unemployment insurance to pay. you have the normal counter cyclical behavior. what we're doing here is looking at the longer term trend. what you've got is a situation where, for example -- i take some of these numbers back not 190s and 2000s. social security disability payments are going up in recession. people who can't find work are reporting themselves disabled.
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the judges are becoming more lenient for reasons you would understand if you were in one of those courtrooms. that is leading the social security to get bigger. >> you can see part of your article is seeing the growth of article. let me throw one other thing out there for you, david. when you look up the number of federal employees you see that president obama has 2.8 million, but under president reagan it was 3.2 million. so, with president bush actually sort of having the trend going back up again. >> large intervening event, the end of the cold war and reduction of the united states military. that combines military and civilian employees. i think you want to look agencivillian employees only and that will be a better guide. you see the size of the federal government employees have been shrinking over time because the federal government is a huge user of computer technology. it takes fewer clerks to process social security check today than in the 1960s. so the trend line for federal employment has been down. but that has come under -- began to reverse during the bush years
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because of homeland security and continued to reverse. what's happened in the past couple of years is we've seen a big reduction in state and local employment. that's probably temporary. it will be corrected. when the state and local payrolls begin to grow again the federal payroll which have been growing, under president bush and continue to grow faster under president obama, they won't shrink. >> it's ron. but if you talk about the big picture of the government's role in the economy, the number of federal employees is secondary to the entitlements. if you're talking about entitlements, is the issue demgraphy? it's doubling from 40 million to 80 million over the next quarter century. leading aside the temporary measures involved in this downturn isn't the long term pressure on the size of government simply providing services to that much larger a senior population and is there any realist tick way to return government to 18% of gdp which is what it was the year medicare went into effect in 1966 when
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there were more seniors? >> you're right about the nature of the problem. which way do you lean, forward or backward? i point to several things in this article. president obama have choices to take them to government force, not market force. look for an example at the president's health care reform. a lot of good measures there. a lot of idea there's that i have written in support of. the fact is this president has relied heavily on medicaid as his way of expanding coverage. of the people who will gain coverage under his health care proposals the majority of them will gain their coverage, not through that mandate that we've been debating so much about, but through medicaid. it didn't have to be that way. could have been designed in a different way. you see the same tendency in energy policy. want to move off oil? great. tax carbon and encourage the market to grow. or what you can do is have direct government investment, particular technology and big winners and that's the way to president's been doing. >> the core of the hooelt care
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plan was to create a market. it's market that has worked in other places and continues to be based on competition in the private sector, the energy approach was a conservative market based approach based on tradable permits developed under the first president bush. it seems to me these are examples of the president being centrist and using market-based inventives to solve structural problems. recession the jobs growth has been the private sector and the job decline has been in the -- >> that's just not right. look, the idea of a market of a regulated market to bring universal coverage is romn romneycare. the problem with the president's plan is although we talk about it as if it were romney care, the real energy of it comes from this huge expansion of medicaid which is a very troubled program. half the people who will gain coverage under the president's plan gain not through mandates and private insurance but through medicate. on energy, yes, at one point there was talk of a very
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complicated form of tradable permits. democrats themselves in congress abandoned that as you know because of objection from state democrats and what the president has fallen back on is his plan b which is direct government investment to pick winners in solar energy and windmill subsidies. exactly the approach that has not worked since it was tried in the 1970s, again and again. consistently failed. >> let me give will cain the final question to you and then run to a break. >> i want to remind people, david's piece is a response to andrew sullivan's, critics of president obama is stupid. >> dumb is the word they used, dumb. >> when you make the argument, plenty of evidence to suggest he is infusing the government into our markets and our lives from energy policy, david points this out, from our energy policy to health care market to bailouts of certain industries and there is a substantive reason to make that argument. we're not all dumb. >> and on that note -- >> continue to debate.
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d demgraphy is the long-term force. >> and on that note, we're going to take a break. still i head this morning, texas school district is now banning sports. desperate attempt to saveacadem. could this last-ditch effort save the school and the community? we'll take a look. people with a machine. what ? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it ? hello ? hello ?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello ? ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense.
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are doing things they never could before, by building on the cisco intelligent network. ok. i want to tell you about the -- i know. can't wait to hear it. >> the fremont school district in south texas is banning sports. they say they want to boost their academic performance. because they have failed to might the academic requirements of the state every year since 2007. they were nearly shut down in july, and have to pay a $400,000
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line of credit by the end of this year. so the district now has one last chance to meet the state criteria. we'll talk about the strategy of losing sports. dr. steve perry is the principal and founder of capital prep, and he was the focus of a documentary we did on education. nice to see you, dr. perry. first and foremost, what do you think of this idea? kill sports to try and get academics up? >> i think that it makes no sense. the reason why these schools failed or this school failed is not because they had a football team. it's because the teachers and the principal in the school were not able to teach the children the skills that were necessary for them to be seen as viable. by the state. >> well, isn't the theory so if you remove sports, number one, you can take that money, and they have mentioned the number, $50,000, and invest that into a science lab and invest that into tutoring that will raise everybody's standards and abilities and, you know, improve academics? it seems kind of basic. no? >> while basic, it's inaccurate. the $50,000 represents approximately one staff member.
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and by teaching standards. and the $50,000 on the other side from an enrichment perspective enriches thousands of hours of children's lives after school. and in fact, may be part of why some kids get into school. some kids get into college because they play a sport, not just as a scholarship but as an activity to put on your resume. >> the school district said they needed better science labs and needed to attract more qualified teachers. they are a rural school district. i think the entire town has roughly 2,700 people. the school itself, 570 people. to what degree is this just a poor school? here is what the superintendent had to say. he said, our urgent situation requires swift and drastic action. if we were a wealthy district and had performance at the right level and money in the bank, i wouldn't even consider cutting athletic programs. but we're not, and i can't emphasize that enough. >> well, how much money do they get per pupil may be in part an issue. but it doesn't determine what's
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happening in the classroom. the teachers are all given access to the same information that the other teachers in the wealthy districts are given access to. and they either can teach it or they can't. in this case, they clearly couldn't. >> i tell you, steve, i'm from texas. will is from texas as well. and we saw robin hood thrown out. the problem that you have is rural school districts simply don't have the same revenue obviously as some of the more wealthy suburban districts. but here is the other issue, where i think this is important, why they did it, which i support. if this school shuts down, it's going to get annexed. the parents say, if that happens, then their school district is 35 miles away. we're going to leave the town. so literally, if that happens, this town could go away. and so the decision that's being made goes beyond just sports. you're hearing people say, we have to save this entire town. i say when you have that kind of pressure, you make this kind of move. >> but at the same time, you're talking about 2007, right? since 2007, the students in this
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school, that is an entire half your career practically in high school. >> that's a whole class. freshman to senior. >> have been in a failing school year after year. how do you balance the needs of a community? it's true, 35 miles to go to school is very, very challenging. >> on rural roads. >> it's not that far, because 40% of the kids whose hands i just shook came in from as many as 35 miles away, because in many school choice situations what happens is children ride on buses anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. many of our children come from an hour and a half away. that's not unreasonableable, especially when we look at what the upside is. the upside, the kids will get access to a quality school. who cares if the school is in the town? this is in part why some schools like rocket ship are more popular because they are a hybrid of -- >> what's rocket ship? >> rocket ship is a partial -- it's partially online, and it's partially a brick and mortar school. and they are being placed throughout the country at rates i have never seen in terms of
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school expansion. and what they do is they say, you don't have to just draw from the teachers who will live or do live in or near your community. in fact, you'll be able to draw upon the resources from throughout the country and world by using technology, much the same way we are using it right now. >> dr. steve perry. it's terrible to think of these students in this school that is just failing year after year. yet another year. >> i tell you, sports of incredibly important. wrestling for me taught me discipline. >> it's a carrot too. you come to school so you can do sports. >> we have to assume that maybe the local leaders and parents can get together and make the right decision. it's hard for us from the outside to decide the right approach. and we need to make sure to protect that. i found sports very valuable to me. my brother is a high school coach. >> apparently a lot of the money is the cost of buses. maybe there's a strategy where the parents could step up and manage that. >> it's interesting. the point of no child left behind was to increase pressure on states to improve the performance of failing schools. 10 years in, there's a severe backlash against it. every republican candidate is talking about repealing it even though it was the brain child of
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george w. bush. but you do see that kind of conflict. if a school is failing, where does the demand come to improve it? is there enough pressure at the local and state level? >> we have to take a short break. in the next hour, after placing second in south carolina, what is romney's strategy for florida? plus, a hearing on the mississippi pardons today. could some of those who have been released be heading back to prison? and congresswoman gabby giffords is leaving congress at least for now. you're watching "starting point." we're back right after a short break. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro.
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and good morning and welcome to "starting point." our second hour begins right now. breaking news, some dangerous storms and tornado sightings to tell you about. hard hit tuscaloosa still rebuilding from that storm last april. and also joplin in the path. already, thousands of people are without power.
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we'll update you on what's happening there. plus, after stumbling in south carolina, mitt romney is in attack mode in florida. listen. >> he was a leader for four years. as speaker of the house. and at the end of four years, it was proven that he was a failed leader. and he had to resign in disgrace. >> yeah, he's talking about his competitor, newt gingrich. we'll talk about that straight ahead. plus, mississippi pardons issue is in court today. no more prisoners can be released. and the big question now, what happens to the other pardoned prisoners? will they head back to prison? "starting point" begins right now. welcome back, everybody. our "starting point" this morning, is mitt romney on the attack, you heard him just a moment ago going after newt gingrich, who also has finally said he is going to release tax returns. that will happen tomorrow. listen. >> this i think we just made a mistake in holding off as long as we did. it was just a distraction.
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>> it was a distraction. well, newt gingrich's supporters are firing back. we heard from a couple this morning tearing down mitt romney's record. we heard from rick tyler, a senior adviser for the gingrich pac earlier today on "starting point." >> well, what we know about mitt romney is he was a supporter of roe v. wade. he let judges overrule parents in terms of getting an abortion for their minor children. he helped restrict gun laws. he gave us romney care. that's his record. he doesn't want to you know his record or newt's record. >> they are coming out fighting. joining us this morning, romney's co-chair of his campaign. and we also have political analyst will bronstein. welcome, welcome, welcome. if you look at the results in south carolina, here's how it
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went. newt gingrich at 40%, mitt romney at 28%. 12-point gap. what happened? >> well, i think that, you know, there were a couple of really good debates. and certainly with the whole tax issue and releasing the tarx returns, when you're in these campaigns you never really want to be dictated what to do by your opponent. and so i assume that mitt romney was planning on releasing his taxes when everybody else does in april, and all of a sudden, gingrich latched onto this. there must be something in there that we need to know about in south carolina, and if you don't release them, then everybody just has to assume the worst. well, he opened that can of worms and now we're going to play that same record in florida. the florida voters need to know who he represented as a lobbyist in washington, d.c., for all those years after he was speaker. we want to know what issues that he was pedalling on capitol hill, and we want to know all the clients' names. >> in all fairness -- i'll stop you there for one second.
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in all fairness, it wasn't just the former speaker newt gingrich who was asking are if those tax returns. it was a lot of people over a lot of time before finally we heard mitt romney say he was going to release them. here is what jeb bush said about what is happening in the campaign right now. listen. oh, there it is. i have to read it to you. it's not hearing from him. it's what he said in print. candidates are making lasting impressions on voters, not just primary voters, in how they campaign. we're sort of in the circular firing squad right now. and anybody knows anything about firing squads knows that's a bad thing. how do you avoid the damage that comes with a circular firing squad? you just said we are teeing up to go after newt gingrich in a big way. >> well, you know, this is full contact sport at this point. the gloves are going to come off. we're not going to leave anything in the locker room in florida. florida is too important to not make sure that your campaign is running on all cylinders or to get tripped up by something like releasing your tax forms. which just to respond a little
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bit, rick santorum hasn't released his. ron paul says he's not going to. and newt just did last week. >> but i thought this was very interesting. i think on "meet the press," he said it wasn't even so much about the taxes. what he said was it was about not being definitive, that the drip, drip, drip started making people question, versus just saying we heard from santorum in the debate. he said when i stop traveling, i'm going to release them. ron paul basically said, my taxes have no -- it sounds like he was on his computer still. really what he said is the issue is about being definitive, which is really about a style of campaigning, i suppose, right? >> yeah. you know, last week, as chris christie said, wasn't a good week. and so, you know, we're getting that behind us. and he's going to release his records. and we would have liked to have seen something more definitive like, yeah, sure. but what happens, as in any campaign as you know, you don't want your opponent to dictate what you're doing. and i think that's what
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happened. but i assure you that the romney campaign will not be doing that anymore. >> congressman, i think you might have just answered my question. you have a fundamental problem here. newt gingrich just won the week after attacking mitt romney for bain capital. essentially attacking him for capital and over his tax records. your problem isn't substance. your problem is personality. mitt romney has to fight. it seems to me you just answered that your antidote to that is chris christie. am i right? >> no, no. i think that chris christie was just on the sunday shows yesterday, and he basically said that as a commentary last week wasn't a great week for the campaign. and i think that he was right. but i think that we learned from south carolina. south carolina isn't the end of the election. i kind of like to think that florida has more to do with who the eventual nominee is going to be than south carolina. >> let's talk about florida for a second. florida is bigger, more diverse. 22% hispanic population. mitt romney said if he would veto it. would that be a problem?
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another thing that jeb bush said is that the candidates need to adjust their tone on immigration in the state of florida. is this a big problem? >> well, it certainly is more of an issue than i think in any of the other states that we have gone through so far. but, you know, these candidates have to go with what they believe in. and certainly it came before the house, as tom knows, and it went through the house but didn't go through the senate. if that's where they are, that's where they are. certainly jeb bush lives in miami. might have a different opinion. but, you know, as far as i've heard from the candidates on the dream act, i doubt that they are going to change just because they are getting to florida. to get the hispanic vote in the bigger picture, you know, maybe that's a discussion for later on down the road. but i don't think you're going to see them change their stance on that. >> on that front, he has been very definitive. it will be interesting to see if he backs away from that in the future. representative tom rooney joining us this morning. we appreciate your time. other headlines making news, christine romans has that.
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good morning. we start with headlines and dangerous severe weather to tell you about. reports of tornadoes and damage in several states this morning. thousands of people waking up without power, and the threat now ranges from illinois all the way down to alabama. meteorologist rob marciano tracking the storms for us. good morning. >> damage especially just north of birmingham. damage widespread in some areas. injuries, potentially fatalities. trying to get confirmation on that. this storm rolled through just north of tuscaloosa. no injuries there, but damage as the storm rolled across the state. it has weakened, but there are other tornado warnings that are posted right now. there you can see some of the video coming in to the cnn newsroom as the sun comes up. and some subdivisions especially north of birmingham near senate point, pleasantville, multiple homes if not entire subdivisions wiped out from this storm. right now, a tornado warning is
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in effect just south of clanton. but these storms for the most part once they get to the georgia border are weakening, much cooler, more stable air here. up to the north this is a big storm. the same storm system that came onboard across the pacific northwest bringing that wind and rain. so there's a lot of moisture with it. it's heading into the ohio valley. eventually into the northeast, where there are some cool pockets of air up here. for the next hour or two, some spots especially north of new york city will be slick in the way of freezing rain, but then temperatures will warm up. there's your storm out west. another one coming into san francisco with rain and heavy mountain snow. christine? in italy, the man in charge of the rescue operation on the costa concordia weighing this morning the decision when to stop searching and start offloading thousands of tons of oil from that wrecked cruise liner. the mayor of the island where the ship ran aground describes the situation as an ecological time bomb because the ship could slip into deeper waters. 13 people are known dead. 19 are still unaccounted for.
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a suspected u.s. drone attack in pakistan killed at least four suspected militants. pakistan intelligence officials say that drone fired two missiles at a vehicle in the tribal region near the border with afghanistan. it's the third drone attack in pakistan already this year. tensions of course between the u.s. and pakistan were heightened back in november after that deadly attack by nato mistakenly killed 24 pakistani soldiers. mitt romney bowing to pressure from campaign rivals, finally agreeing to release his 2010 tax returns tomorrow. romney said the issue had become a distraction. a real dust-up in texas. a dust-up that had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with mother nature. powerful winds whipped up dust and dirt during a dust storm in lubbock, texas. the winds were so powerful they uprooted some trees. and the nfl's final four is a tale of two field goals. one that was good, the new york giants lawrence tines connected in overtime to beat the san francisco 49ers 20-17. and one that was not.
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the ravens missing in the game's final seconds, giving the new england patriots the 23-20 victory. the giants and patriot will meet in a super bowl rematch on february 5 in indianapolis. mind your business right now. a busy week ahead. corporate earnings. greece's debt talks. fed meeting. housing data. all of that comes at us this week. right now, u.s. stock futures are trading higher ahead of the opening bell. markets gained about 2% last week. also, we are watching oil this morning. sweet crude prices have gone up $1. european foreign union members are meeting today to talk about banning oil from iran, putting more pressure there. a hearing on those mississippi pardons still ahead this morning. we'll find out if some of the prisoners who were released will be heading back to prison. plus, president obama trying to take the lead when it comes to the economy. so what will he say during tomorrow's state of the union address? what should he say? we'll examine that. and speaking of state of the
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union, date night again. remember that? members on both sides. >> no, no, no. >> i'm not going with you. >> stop. yes. our happy couple right here, will cain and roland martin will be attending the state of the union together. >> did anything happen from that last time around? will anything come from it this time around? we'll talk this morning to mark udall and senator rob portman just ahead. >> no one was caned on the senate floor. >> and they should have been. >> that's the standard. going back to the civil war. >> that's just sad. that's just sad. we're going to take a break. we're back on the other side with more "starting point." i love that my daughter's part fish.
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today, a court is going to review those controversial pardons that were made by the outgoing mississippi governor haley barbour. several released were convicted murderers. in fact, there they are. they worked in the governor's mansion as part of a special trustee program for convicts. haley barbour was on cbs's "face the nation" yesterday and justified the pardons. >> 26 out of the penitentiary. and as you mentioned, half of them for health reasons. 189 of these people, most of them had been out for years and year. they are no more threat to the people of mississippi now than they were the week before they got their pardon. >> and live for us from jackson, mississippi, ed, he talks about that 189 people. but really a lot of people are not focused on those 189, many who have been out for years. it's the convicted mourderers that have been the focus and the controversial part of this release. >> no question, soledad. four of the convicted murderers worked in the governor's grounds
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in the trustee program, which has since been done away with the current governor of mississippi. those four murderers have been told they need to present themselves here today at this court hearing later on this afternoon. they expect to see three of those. the attorney general here in mississippi says that one of them, a guy by the name of joseph osmeant, they believe is on the run. they are not getting much help from his family. they don't expect him to show up here today. and what exactly the attorney general of mississippi who is the lone democrat here in this state, political opponent of the former republican governor haley barbour, and what he is going to hang his hat on here is that these pardons were not properly notified throughout the state. he says according to the mississippi constitution that these pardons must be announced for 30 days leading up to the pardon, and the attorney general here in mississippi says that specifically in the case of these four murderers they were only done for 28 days. so he is saying that because of that, these pardons should nbe
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null and void and those prisoners sent back to prison. >> there's no law there. we have never had a situation in mississippi or any other states i can find that provides us with guidance as to how you put out a warrant whose papers indicate that i are a free man. >> it sounds like free of them might be remanded back into prison. maybe. but the fourth is now on the run. what do you know about that guy? >> well, that's one that the attorney general's office says they have been trying to get in touch with his family, trying to get help from his family. they believe he knows everything that is going on, but they have no idea where he is at this point. and what this judge can and will do is very much up in the air. is this judge going to send back the prisoners, put them back in jail in there's 16 people that the attorney general here in mississippi says did not provide sufficient notice leading up to these pardons. so what will happen with these dozens and dozens of cases is still very much up in the air. >> are we seeing mississippi
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lawmakers already propose laws to actually clarify this and actually change this kind of procedure or even take away the ability of a governor to pardon folks leading up to a parole board? >> you know, roland, there is all sorts of talk here in mississippi about trying to limit the governor's ability to do this in the future. or have some sort of say in how these pardons are doled out. it's not only happening in mississippi, but it's spread throughout the country. a lawmaker in oklahoma is trying to do the same thing as well. the anger and the frustration with the way these pardons were handled here in mississippi, you get the sense it's starting to spread throughout the country. >> thank you for the update. we'll keep watching that story. still ahead on "starting point" this morning, two people are now confirmed dead in the dangerous storms we have been talking about in tuscaloosa, alabama. and that storm system is not done yet. we'll update you on what's happening there.
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when we were determined to see it through. here's an update on the progress. we're paying for all spill related clean-up costs. bp findings supports independent scientists studying the gulf's environment. thousands of environmental samples have been tested and all beaches and waters are open. and the tourists are back. i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp.
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this is cnn breaking news. > severe weather that we have been talking about in the south has turned deadly. two fatalities are now confirmed in jefferson county, alabama. high wind damage in other areas. we have david harten on the phone with the tuscaloosa emergency management joining us now. thanks for being with us. i know you're really swamped. first, tell us a little bit about tuscaloosa. any fatalities to report? what kind of damage? >> we are not aware of any injuries whatsoever in tuscaloosa county. we had three reports of some minor structural damage. the vast majority of the damage reports we've had are trees blown down and a few power lines down. and that's basically in areas north of the city of tuscaloosa and cities of north port off
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highway 171 in the area of patton road, upper columbus road, such as that. >> we are looking at pictures i believe from jefferson county, alabama. and the damage is much more severe than you're experiencing in tuscaloosa county. because we have seen homes that are completely collapsed and debris across requir debris across roadways. what are you hearing about what's happening there? and what storms are coming at you? >> the storms that went through jefferson county i believe came through northern tuscaloosa county. we had a tornado warning as it entered tuscaloosa from pickens. and then we had an extension of that as it went from east tuscaloosa into jefferson. so, you know, we can't overemphasize enough particular storms that come through this time of morning that people need a way of being alerted to that, an all hazard radio, so that when something comes through in
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the hours of the morning when normally you are not up you have that ability to be awakened and go to your safe place. >> i was in tuscaloosa not very long ago, and you could still see the damage from last april's storm that really didn't look like they had made a lot of headway. i guess the cleanup had been done, but not the rebuilding. what is the status of that, and you are worried that the new storms will push all of that back? >> i don't see why we'd push that back. there is a lot of building going on, a lot of citizens have obtained permits to start rebuilding. it takes time to get architectural drawings and other things. if you were here now and went down through the neighborhoods, you would see a lot of new homes. a lot of new businesses. >> that's good to heart. david harten with the tuscaloosa emergency management. thank you for being with us. we appreciate your time this morning. now let's get right to rob marciano this morning. how does it look for those folks? it sounds like at least in tuscaloosa they have been able to avoid some of the damage. maybe not so much in jefferson county. >> that's right. and he is right in that it was
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the same cell. extreme northern parts of tuscaloosa county, moving to the east rapidly this morning. the storms move very quickly this time of year, and hit hard just north of birmingham and through clay in the center point or the paradise valley area. those are the communities that we are beginning to see as the sun comes up severe damage and in some cases subdivisions seeing substantial damage if not wiped out. two fatalities, both of those north of birmingham. the storms have moved to the east. we'll show you those. there is still one tornado warning out for east central alabama, and the threat will continue for the next couple of hours with this tornado watch. birmingham, tuscaloosa, even aniston. those storms have moved to the south and east. and as they enter into georgia, this is cooler, more stable air here. so the storms are weakening, but still strong storms in eastern parts of alabama, north birmingham the hardest hit. search and rescue operations underway as we speak. >> rob, thank you very much.
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still ahead this morning, president obama is trying to get out in front of this kpleconomi debate. what's he going to say at the state of the union? plus, remember date night in congress? well, republicans and democrats are once again pairing up as couples for the state of the union. plus, warren buffett sings a tune. i'll tell you what that means straight ahead. can i help you? yeah, can i get a full-sized car? for full-sized cars, please listen to the following menu. for convertibles, press star one. i didn't catch that. to speak to a representative, please say representative now. representative. goodbye! you don't like automated customer service,
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and neither do we. that's why, unlike other cards, no matter when you call chase sapphire preferred, you immediately get a person not a prompt. chase sapphire preferred. a card of a different color. (phone ringing) chase sapphire preferred, this is julie in springfield.
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you're a brave man, roland, if you can dance to this music in the morning. >> no, i'm directing. my days in the band. >> clearly. welcome back, everybody. you're watching "starting point." let's get right to the headlines with christine romans. syria rejecting an arab league proposal to end the 10-month-old uprising that's reportedly claimed thousands of lives much the plan calls president bashir al assad to establish a new unity government
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within two months. syrian officials say they consider it a violation of its sovereignty and a flagrant interference. egypt's parliament meeting today for the first time since former president mubarak was ousted last year. the jailed founder of the file sharing site megaupload appearing in court in new zealand this morning asking for bail. the u.s. government is trying to extradite company officials on criminal charges. the site was shut down last week. u.s. authorities claims it was part of a $175 copyright infringement scheme. a lot going on this week. the health of the u.s. economy in focus with new reports on housing, growth of the overall economy, corporate earnings, the federal reserve is meeting on interest rates too, all happening this week. check on the markets right now, u.s. stocks are up. the markets gained about 2% last
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week. on the 39th anniversary much the roe versus wade division, rick santorum wants to make one thing perfectly clear. he's the real anti-abortion candidate. in a "wall street journal" editorial today, santorum says, quote, my opponents whisper they are pro-life, but i fight the battle in the trenches and will continue to do so until every innocent human life in this country is protected. "30 rock" star tracy morgan reportedly collapsed last night during an event at the sundance festival in utah and had to be rushed to the hospital. a spokesman says he was suffering from a combination of exhaustion and altitude. it's the first day of the chinese new year. guess who is celebrating the year of the dragon? warren buffett. ♪ i've been working on the railroad ♪ ♪ all the live-long day ♪ i've been working on the railroad ♪ ♪ just to pass the time away >> he is not just working on the railroad, he owns a big railroad.
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he is struming and singing part of an annual new year's gala on china's state-run tv. hundreds of millions of people saw the oracle of omaha and his little performance. >> i look at that, and i just think, it's good to be rich. you've got a uklay lay. you can see what you want and upload it to youtube and wear whatever you want. it is good to be rich. >> i want to hear the rest of that story. china state-run tv? >> dude probably owns it. i want to talk about the state of the union. tomorrow of course the president will be addressing the country with a state of the union address and lay out some big economic plans. the president says we have learned they are going to focus on the middle class, on the haves versus the have-nots. he also says it's the government's job to make sure there's a healthy balance between the haves and have-nots. and that's a stack contrast from the republicans' free enterprise ideals, right, will cain? >> that's right. >> the president gave a preview of tomorrow's speech over the weekend. here's what he said.
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>> we can go in two directions. one is towards less opportunity and less fairness. or we can fight for where i think we need to go. building an economy that works for everyone. not just the wealthy few. on tuesday night, i'm going to talk about how we'll get there. i'm going to lay out a blueprint for an economy that's built to last. >> a part of fixing the economy of course is taking a look at the banks. there's a $25 billion settlement with five banks. this morning we are joined by simon johnson, a former chief economist at i.m.f. we'll bring christine romans back in. mr. johnson, thanks for being with us. let's talk about this settlement with the five banks. and first i want to throw up the list of the banks involved. bank of america, j.p. morgan chase, wells fargo, citibank, and alabaly financial. the talks have been going on for more than a year. what do you think is the likely outcome here? >> well, i think the meeting this week in chicago, meeting today, will yield very little.
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but there does seem to be a move on the part of the obama administration towards the position that's been taken by key attorney generals, including most prominently eric sneiderman of new york, towards wanting a full investigation and a much more comprehensive settlement for everything that the banks are alleged to have done wrong. >> this is something you have been arguing for. you say that there's got to be an investigation, and also more funding for those who need it more, people whose mortgage principle is underwater. what those two parts? any case, it's not clear that's going to happen. >> well, first and most important principle is that we should investigate. we should find out who broke the law, and to what extent they caused actual real damage, for example, to people who bought homes with mortgages sold under false pretenses were handled badly. and of course to investors who bought securities about which
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there were some misrepresentation. if we don't know the facts, we don't have a full investigation, how can we determine whether the $20 billion or $50 billion or $200 billion is an appropriate settlement? and with regard to principle reductions, that comes down the road. once you have established who broke the law and on what basis, then you can talk about ways to structure a potential settlement or perhaps you go to court. perhaps the banks would rather it go to court. it's fine with me. but if they want to do a settlement, it makes sense to structure that with principle reductions for homeowners who were damaged by the actions of banks, if that is what you establish. >> ok. so there are states like california, new york, i think delaware, nevada, massachusetts, who don't want the settlement to be able to preclude any kind of civil action that could follow. do you think that's likely? >> yes. i think the latest signs are that the discussions this week which are pretty much focused around the so-called robo signing scandal, that they will be limited to that and there will not be any broader, more
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blanket type immunity extended to the banks. the obama administration was leaning on the side of a blanket immunity. that was a bad idea. terrible legal strategy. awful economics. really not a sensible policy at all. under the pressure from the attorney generals but also occupy wall street and all the grassroots activists on this and all the people that the president wants to vote for him in november have been pointing out this is just not a sensible strategy. i think the administration has shifted away from that, and that is a very positive development. >> but there is definitely a case of history repeating itself. christine, i want to bring you in on this. it was back in 2008, i think it was bank of america, right, for the countrywide loans. >> yeah. >> i think we have a graphic up here of what happened. the bank of america raised interest rates, didn't modify the loans and foreclosed while some of the modification requests were still pending. what's different this time around? >> and that's according to the nevada attorney general, who has said they want out of their deal they did back in 2008. they actually did it in 2009.
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they said, look, you had all of these promises made, people in the midst of loan modifications who were foreclosed on, people who didn't get enough time. and there are concerns overall that in this new deal, for example, what would banks say that they were doing as part of this settlement that they should have or were in the process of doing anyway? and to the point of writing down the principle, that's the thing that gets housing advocates -- starts to get them excited. if you have 1 million people and you are writing down the principle, that's something that people can get their heads around. but they are suspicious of the banks. they are worried about how slow it has been to find the silver bullet for the housing industry. in fact, there isn't a silver bullet. it would have been fired. how many programs have we seen that haven't worked? excitement tempered by a lot of caution all at the same time. but if it's done right, some are saying, soledad, it could mark the bottom of the subprime mess, if done properly. >> i'm going to ask you a mortgage question in a second,
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christine. but first, thanks to simon johnson for updating us on this litigation. christine, for you, mortgages. we know they are at record lows but not everybody is taking advantage. >> you look at these refinancing rates. a 30-year fixed rate, 3.88%. a 15-year fixed is the really popular refinancing instrument right now. 3.17%. you're talking about hundreds of dollars a month that people could be saving in their budgets because of refinancing. and that should be a good thing for the economy. but so many people are underwater. they can't do it. people are saying that they can't get through on the phone to their banks to get it done. my advice is it takes hours and hours and hours. but if you are not underwater on your loan, this is probably the smartest personal finance decision you can make in 2012, is getting hold of these very low mortgage rates. not everybody can do it. and that's the problem with fixing the housing mess in general. there are people who want these lower financing rates but they
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can't get them because they are so messed up on the bad mortgage they got in the first place. straight ahead this morning, the senate is back to work today. record low approval ratings for congress. what are lawmakers planning to do differently you're watching "starting point." we're back right after this short break. in america, we believe in a future that is better than today. since 1894, ameriprise financial has been working hard for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams. buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one. together, for your future. ♪
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welcome back, everybody. on tuesday night, president obama is going to give the state of the union address. it is also date night near congress. democrats and republicans crossing the aisles, so to speak, sitting together as a show of bipartisan. but is it real? ohio republican senator rob portman is joining us this morning. nice to see you. i have to tell you roland martin and will cain are trying to have a little bipartisan next to me. that's pretty much what it's like. gentlemen, i'm trying to have a conversation here. let's begin with you, senator udall. in fact, does this work? if you look at the space between the last time you have done it and now, the next time you're going to do it, it really hasn't gone that well. why do the date night? are you guys dating night tonight? i mean, tuesday night? >> soledad, hey, good morning, rob. happy new year to senator portman. just because last year was a tough political year, and it was, doesn't mean we don't keep drying. we are part of a big family, the american family.
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the state of the union is a serious evening. we should treat the speech seriously. and i think particularly in the context of the terrible shooting last year that occurred in tucson, to honor and support the way in which gabrielle giffords works in the congress. i think we have to keep at it. the feeling i have is that it does make a difference. over time, you get to know the people that you work with. it's hard to demonize a fellow legislator if you know something about his or her background and their family and so on. so we have to keep at this. in the spirit of tip o'neill and ronald reagan as well, who fought bitterly during the day but 6:00 came around and they sat down and had a drink, got to know each other. >> let me play a little bit of what gabrielle giffords said as she also told folks that she was going to be leaving her position. here's what she said. >> but i know on the issues we fought for, we can change things. for the better.
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we can do so much more by working together. >> senator portman, when i look back at the last year, in all seriousness, you have to wonder if what she is proposing is based in reality. it was a very tough year, a very bitterly divided congress, frankly. how can you get to her vision realistically? >> well, i think it takes both sides realizing that we have huge problems facing our country, and they have to be addressed not as republicans or democrats but as americans. and frankly, we need a little help from the white house. you know, we'll see what the president says on tuesday night. but i hope he goes back to his theme in his campaign a few years ago when he talked about bringing people together to solve problems. what i'm hearing about is it will be more about not just dividing himself from congress and talking about how congress can't get stuff done, which doesn't help, because we have to work together, but also talking about dividing americans. and, you know, we have to figure out how to pull together.
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unify folks around common problems. we have the biggest deficit and debt in our history. we have an economy that continues to sputter along. not creating the jobs that any of us want to see. the weakest recovery since the great depression. so we've got big problems, and we have to come together and resolve them. i am taking a date. i am going with gene shaheen from new hampshire. we have introduced legislation together on energy efficiency. i have worked with mark a lot on legislative initiatives. i'm a conservative, i'm proud of that, but i also feel like we need to focus on results. and we can and should. >> senator udall, can i ask real quick, can you each identify two or three significant things that congress might be able to work together on a bipartisan basis around this year? >> ron, mark udall here. let me just add to that.
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senator alexander put it well. he said the goal isn't bipartisan. the goal is results. but i do believe you can have too much partisanship and never too much bipartisanship. we need a simpson bowls grand bargain that combines cuts in federal spending with fixes to medicare and social security, plus tax reform. we ought to put in place an infrastructure. bill, there's some good news this week about the faa being authorized permanently. and then we ought to finally look at an overall comprehensive national energy policy. there's some things we can do this year that will help us be more energy self-reliant. and by the way, those create jobs and strengthen our country. i sit on the armed services committee, as does rob. and we need to do more on the energy front to give us more geo political flexibility. just think if we had our own oil supplies and our own liquid fuel situation was strong, we wouldn't have to be in this
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situation where iran holds a sword over the rest of the world because it has oil. >> senator udall, and senator portman, thank you for joining us this morning on "starting point." we appreciate your time. still ahead, sol alynnski. who is that? the reveal is up next. you're watching "starting point."
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i got 6,000 songs. that ain't one of them. >> john mellencamp. >> even i knew that. >> going to the midwest. >> yes, we are. >> small town. i got a couple of others. but that one ain't it. it is time for the reveal this morning, and we are taking a look at newt gingrich and a name he keeps mentioning over and over. the name is saul alinski. listen. >> the centerpiece of this campaign i believe is american exceptionalism, versus the radicalism of saul alinski. i could debate obama head-to-head, that i could convey conservative values, and that i could in an articulate
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way explain what american exceptionalism was all about, and why the values that he believes in, the saul alinski radicalism that is at the heart of obama. i am going to represent the declaration of independence, the constitution, the federalist papers, and the great heroes of american history. he will represent saul alinski, european socialism, secular radicalism, and all the ideas he got at harvard and columbia. >> first of all, nothing wrong with getting ideas at harvard and columbia. but people listening are like, who is saul alinski? well, the speaker mentions him often especially when he is talking about president obama and what speaker gingrich believes to be his liberal beliefs. he was born in chicago in 1909. a community organizer, just like a young barack obama in chicago as well. spent his life helping minorities in poor neighborhoods exert their political force by organizing them to get to the polls. but alinski is probably best known for a book he wrote called "rules for radicals."
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the prince was written for the haves to hold power. rules for radicals is written for the have-nots on how to take it away. president obama has never said that he was influenced by alinski. in fact, he was 10 years old when alinski passed away. and in doing our research, we found this. alinski's organizational tactics haven't only influenced democrats. in fact, his practices have been linked to some conservatives and tactics have been used with great success by the tea party. former house republican majority leader dick armey admits he has been influenced by alinski saying, i think he is very good at what he did, but what he did was not good. and in an interview with "the financial times," the head of freedom works which is aligned with the tea party saying, we don't organize people to turn up at these town hall meetings, but we tell them about the meetings and suggest good questions they could ask. sounds like something alinski might do. the problem, perhaps, that newt gingrich has with alinski and the reason he is trying to link him to president obama wasn't really alinski's organizational
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skills but the book outlining how the have-nots could take power from the haves. so we will be sure to ask the former speaker that next time we get a chance to talk to him. straight ahead this morning -- our end point. stay with us. [ male announcer ] the inspiring story of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust. take away the singing animals, and the storybook narrator...
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i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp. we're committed to the gulf for everyone who loves it, and everyone who calls it home.
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tom, you get to begin our "end point" segment. wrap it all up. >> i think right now you have republicans fighting over which one is worse for the country while the president is putting out a positive vision for the middle class. the question will be whether congress takes that challenge and focuses on the economy or the election. >> we had some dispute before about whether newt gingrich was jumped or pushed when he stepped down. i want to bring in an expert witness. he said a handful